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Eight Major Reasons To Add Content To Your Library Marketing {Infographic}

I’m so excited to be the keynote speaker for the Illinois Library Association Marketing Forum Mini-Conference in Chicago in a few weeks. My brain is entirely engulfed in content marketing as I formulate the talk. There are also some big content changes afoot at my library. I’ll talk more about those when we have our campaigns up and running. But, let’s just say that most of my marketing focus in my professional life is on content–why we should do it, how to make it work better, and how to be efficient in our content creation.

The most important part of the speech I’ll give next month is the “why.” Why is content marketing important to libraries? This was actually the focus of one of my early posts here on blog. The argument for content marketing hasn’t changed. You can make all the posters and fliers you want. People don’t pay attention to those push promotional tactics. That’s why marketing seems frustrating.

You want desperately to break through the noise of life and become a subconscious part of your cardholders’ thought process. You want them to think of you every time they face a problem. You want them to remember they can come to you for pretty much anything they need. This is the common struggle for libraries everywhere, no matter their size, staffing, or service area. Honest to goodness, the only way to achieve that is through content marketing. I know this from experience.

There is now a lot of data to back up the assertion that content works. I want to share some of that with you. I’m hoping that, if you are hesitant or nervous about working content marketing into your overall library marketing strategy, these stats will convince you. I truly believe this is an opportunity for libraries that cannot be missed. If we are to survive and thrive as an industry, we need to do more content marketing.

Here are the facts for why content is key to library marketing.

Why Content is Key to Library Marketing

80 percent of people prefer to get information about your library from a series of articles versus an advertisement.

71 percent of people are turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch. Which means, if you are doing mostly traditional promotional marketing, it’s not working.

75 percent of people who find local, helpful information in search results are more likely to visit a physical building. We want to get more bodies inside our libraries. Content is the key.

Only 45 percent of marketers are using storytelling to create a relationship with their audience. Most big brands are still running ads and push promotion. This is our open door. It’s a huge opportunity for libraries. This is how we sneak in and take away audience share… by telling stories. And who doesn’t love a good positive story about a library?

95 percent of people only look at the first page of search results. Optimized content (that’s content that uses keywords that are likely to be picked up by Google and other search engines) is incredibly helpful. If your library’s content appears on the second page or later, people won’t see it.

Blog posts are the content that get the most shares. And if your post is helpful to others, it’s more likely to be shared. 94 percent of readers share a blog post because they think it can be useful to someone they know. And the more often you publish blog content, the more often your content will show up in search, which increases the likelihood that people will find your library while doing a search. Amazing, right?

90 percent of the most successful marketers prioritize educating their audience over promotion their company’s promotional messages. Education is our main industry. Libraries are perfectly aligned to make this work for us.

But here’s a stat that really surprised me. 78 percent of effective content marketers use press releases as part of their strategy. Yep, press releases can be content marketing too. Use your releases to be informative but to really pitch amazing story ideas to the media. If you have a great story and you can make all the elements available to the media, you can let them tell it and take advantage of their built-in audience to spread the word about your library.

These stats come from a variety of great blogs including Impact, Marketing Profs, OptinMonster, Elite Copywriter, Cision, and Forbes. I hope they’ve convinced you to do content marketing at your library.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button in the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. I talk about library marketing on all those platforms!

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STOP: Before You Do Any Content Marketing, Get a Strategy


null (1)Content Marketing for Libraries is the focus of this blog. Every week, I urge you to use relevant and valuable content to reach your cardholders, build their trust, earn their loyalty and respect, and inspire them to action. You agree, right? So what is the next step in this journey?

Strategy.

There. You don’t have to read any further. You now have the key to make  your library content marketing work. Create a strategy. Done.

Why aren’t more library marketers formulating, writing down, and sticking to a content strategy? Is it fear? Is it time?  Is it indecision?

It doesn’t matter. These are excuses, to be frank. I want the industry to thrive. And so I’m pleading with you—please, please, please—get a strategy for your library content marketing.

Why am I so passionate about this? Let me share some insight from the 2015 Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland. Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the event and an insanely smart and sweet guy, began by sharing some research recently completed by his company, Content Marketing Institute.

First, if you don’t have a strategy, you are not alone.  Only 32% of marketers in all industries have a documented content strategy.  It’s scary and elusive and frustrating to all marketers everywhere. But it’s still worth the effort. Because 79% of marketers who have a documented strategy with clear success metrics said their content marketing was effective. WOW.

Kristina Halvorson, author and CEO of Brain Traffic, took the stage for a keynote address and asked a wonderfully relevant question: “ If you weren’t spending money on content, where would you spend it? What do your customers want?” That’s all you need to think about when creating your documented content marketing strategy. What do your cardholders want? What problems do they need to solve? How can you help them? It’s not rocket science. Your librarians do that every day! That’s our strategy.

Here’s something else to consider. Halvorson says, “Strategy is a decision to take a path. It’s a decision to say no to certain things. It’s a decision to choose tactics and to have a shared outcome. If your marketing strategy is, “We will deliver content our customers can’t get enough of,” you’re doing it wrong. That’s not a strategy. That is a vision. Instead, Halvorson says you need to make business outcomes and customer satisfaction your goal. Ask yourself:  Where is your library now? Where do you want to be? The path to get from the first point to the second point is your strategy.

Creating a strategy may seem like an insurmountable task. The word “strategy” conjures up images of a daunting, intense, complicated process. We’ll blame the marketing consultants for making it seem more difficult than it is. If I can do it, so can you.

When approaching my own strategy, I find it helps to have a series of questions to ask myself. I write out the answers and those help me see the whole picture and form a strategy. So here’s what you can ask yourself.

What are our key opportunities?

What are our core challenges?

What are the assumptions we make based on info we don’t have and can’t get?

What are our risks?

What are our success metrics?

Who is our audience and why do they listen to us?

Which is the audience that doesn’t listen to us now… but should?

What is the purpose of the ways we are currently communicating with our cardholders?

 

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Slideshare,  Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

 

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